It seems every week there’s a news story cropping up saying thatApple has either launched a lawsuit against a mobile competitor or that competitor has launched a lawsuit against the iPhone maker. Those are usually followed by a court ruling made by a judge halfway around the world, deciding if a patent brought before him or her is violated by a respective mobile product. The litigation never ends.
So far, much of the lawsuit activity has been between Apple and Samsung. Both companies are performing exceedingly well in the mobile market, and each firm’s products are threats to the other’s. However, so far, neither company has been able to gain the upper hand, and it appears the chances of the lawsuits coming to an end any time soon are slim. Looking at the rest of 2012, it appears Apple and Samsung will be waging court battles in even more wide-ranging jurisdictions around the world.
But it’s about time all that stops. Apple should realize that its lawsuits are not helping its operation in any way. It should discontinue all the patent-infringement lawsuits it has pending against Samsung and Motorola, along with any other mobile patent infringement suits it is contemplating. The lawsuits are hurting Apple and its standing in the industry. It’s about time it moves on.
Read on to find out why:
1. It isn’t winning anything
If Apple were engaging in lawsuits that were actually helping the company win something, then sticking with them might make sense. However,Apple has won only a few preliminary injunctions, and in other cases lost legal battles. If Apple isn’t winning anything yet, there’s a good chance it won’t win any big rulings in the coming months. Why not just cut its losses now and move on?
2. It’s costing the company boatloads of money
Although Apple hasn’t divulged how much it has spent on its lawsuits, it’s believed that the company could have spent more than $100 million on a single lawsuit against HTC alone. That’s cash Apple can spend on research, product development and acquisitions. Those all would be a much better use of its money.
3. It makes Apple look bad
Companies have a right to protect their intellectual property through patent-infringement lawsuits. But it looks like Apple is using lawsuits to try to gain and maintain competitive advantage as a relative newcomer to the mobile phone industry. Historically, Microsoft has been that kind of company, and it’s been called a bully because of it. Does Apple really want to be Microsoft? Absolutely not.
4. It might end the suits against it
Part of the reason Apple is engaged in so many legal battles right now is that the defendants, namely Samsung, have been launching their own lawsuits against the iPhone maker alleging patent infringement to protect themselves. Maybe it’s time Apple ends all the lawsuits it has brought to court to see if the companies it’s battling will back off as well. There’s a good chance they might.
Apples Lawsuits Arent Paying for Themselves
5. Consider the acquisition costs
The patent-infringement lawsuits Apple has brought to courts around the world are obviously expensive, but they also cause companies to pay unforeseen sums of cash for other activities.One of those activities is acquiring patents from other firms, or perhaps even entire companies, just to get more intellectual property protection. It happens quite often: Remember when Google announced plans to acquire Motorola Mobility for $12.5 billion last year? Larry Page said it was designed to get the company mobile patent protection.
6. The patents are too easy to circumvent
There have been some cases in which Apple has won patent-infringement suits. In Australia, for example, it was able to keep the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 off store shelves for a while. But even when Apple wins a suit, the courts give allegedly infringing companies the chance to find a workaround that no longer violates a patent. Samsung has done it countless times, and Apple has been forced to start again at square one. It’s a waste of time.
7. It’s better to be on defense
When it comes to patent-infringement cases, it’s better to be on defense. The company bringing the suit must show its hand first and outline how it believes the defendant’s products are infringing its intellectual property. In many cases, those lawsuits include holes that defendants can take advantage of. MaybeApple should give up the lawsuits it has brought up and play defense. Eventually, companies will get tired of losing to the iPhone maker, and all the while, Apple can look like the poor, innocent target. It’s a win-win.
8. The market is getting tired of the lawsuits
As more and more lawsuits hit courts around the world,not just from Apple and Samsung but from countless other mobile companies, including Oracle, HTC, Motorola and Google, consumers are starting to become annoyed. There will always be patent lawsuits. But so many are outrageous and make consumers uncertain of what mobile devices they can safely buy. That is also another objective of these lawsuits. So far, consumers haven’t voted with their wallets to take a stand against the lawsuits. But that situation might change. It’s best for Apple to anticipate that than to get caught up in it.
9. It could hurt other aspects of its business
Lawsuits can be extremely damaging to a company’s ability to partner with other firms in the future. For Apple, the risk of that is quite high. Apple relies upon Samsung as a top supplier for its mobile products. So far, the companies have been able to keep their lawsuits from damaging that relationship. But Apple’s recent decision to acquire an Israel-based flash memory maker, Anobit, seems to indicate the company believes that could change. Lawsuits have a major impact on business relationships. It’s about time Apple acknowledges that and cuts its losses before it’s too late.
10. They don’t end
One of the worst things about Apple’s lawsuits is that they don’t seem to end. After bringing a lawsuit before the court, it usually takes months for the judge to issue a decision and order. Even then, the defendant is given months to correct the situation if it’s found that a given product violates a specific patent. The lawsuits don’t end. And the longer they go, the more they cost in both time and money. It’s ridiculous, and it’s time for Apple to stop getting stuck in them.